Which Travel Backpack Should I Get for Long-Term Travel? Comparison Chart of Popular Packs

Imani’s Articles

Finding the perfect travel backpack is no easy task. To help you out I compared the Osprey Ariel AG 65, Osprey Aura AG 65, REI Co-op Women’s Traverse 65, and Osprey Fairview Trek 70 for long-term travel*

*These are all classified as “Women’s” packs, given their shape. The “Men’s” equivalent packs are Osprey Aether, Osprey Atmos, REI Traverse, Osprey Farpoint Trek, respectively.

Getting ready for long-term travel is exciting beyond belief, but it also comes with a lot of decisions, both big and small: How much notice should I give my boss before quitting my job? Should I get an international drivers license? Where should my first destination be?

One of the questions that took me WAY longer than expected to answer was centered around buying my brand new home: a backpack. 

And not just any travel backpack. If you are planning on doing long-term (5+ months) with a healthy dose of walking and transportation – and want to make life easier for yourself by not dragging along a suitcase everywhere – a durable, comfortable backpack made with quality materials from a reputable brand is a MUST. 

But there are many more things to consider: Does it have lockable zippers? A curved frame? Padded shoulders for comfort? An integrated cover for those rainy days?! HOW EASY IS IT TO PACK AND WILL I ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO CARRY IT ONCE I PACK IT?!

SO… I started digging and doing some research. Since I knew that I want to travel indefinitely, I needed a larger pack, so I only looked at packs that had 60+ cubic liters. I noticed three packs that were very popular and highly rated, and one that was newer and less reviewed, but an interesting combination of features. 

You can read some of the features and cons of each one, or scroll down to review the comparison chart. Feel free to use the features listed in the left side of the chart as a guide to reviewing any other travel backpacks you may be considering as well. At the end, I’ll let you know which one I chose and why! 

1. Osprey Aura AG 65 Backpack

The Osprey Aura AG 65 is a winner for many women due to its comfort and lighter weight over the newer “Ariel” backpack. It has many of the specs you need: an integrated rain cover, 11+ compartments to store everything you own, padded shoulders and hip belt, adjustable harness, and a nice look. 

Possible downfall: No Removable Day Pack

There’s really nothing wrong with this travel backpack in terms of the features, it just might be missing something that you want, such as a removable day pack. 

2. Osprey Ariel AG 65 Backpack

The Osprey Ariel AG is the Aura’s twin sister who is a bit of a show off – she has a few more things to offer, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t have an integrated rain cover like the Aura, but it has that removable day pack many admire (with hydration compatibility!), panel access for easier access to your items, and lots of smaller bells and whistles that are (in the words of the REI employee who helped me tremendously) “only necessary if you are a serious backpacker doing a multi-week thru hike like the PCT” (yeeeaa not me). 

Possible downfalls: Potentially Uncomfortable Hip belt and Weight 

Hip belt troubles: Many reviewers claimed that the hip belt is not as comfortable as the Aura’s (above), and some even mentioned it gave them bruises. One REI employee said that this is because people might not be taking the extra step of swapping out their hip belt for a more appropriate size if need be. (For example, my torso fits a size small travel backpack, but my hips would need a medium hip belt to be comfortable.) 

A bit heavier: Another potential downfall is that it’s a bit heavier than the other packs, due to all those “bells and whistles”. If you need a trusty bag that you can use for life and take everywhere, but also aren’t a long-term hiking/camping backpacker, this might not be the right choice for you. 

3. REI Co-op Traverse 65 Backpack

If you have an REI membership you already know how great the quality of their gear is. This REI Co-op Traverse 65 backpack has had RAVE reviews for years, and REI seems to have no plans to update the pack (don’t fix something that ain’t broken!). It’s simple yet extremely functional; filled with features but sleeker than the others. 

Possible downfall: Exposed Zippers 

The main downfall I noticed with this pack was the zipper exposure. If you’re using this pack for traveling, you want the zippers to be as hidden as possible, so as to reduce the chances of pick-pocketing, and these zippers are definitely more “out in the open” than on the Osprey Packs. 

4. Osprey Fairview Trek 70 Travel Backpack 

I was having a hard time deciding between the three aforementioned travel backpacks, and figured I’d just make (another) trip to REI and make a decision once and for all. BUT THEN I FOUND THIS GEM. 

The Osprey Fairview Trek has all the specifications I valued in the prior packs. It was a larger size at a reasonable weight. And best of all, it was made for travelers! There is a large front panel that opens up *all the way* (like an upside down “U” instead of a “J”-zipper), making it extremely easy to pack and repack. Therefore, it has the easy packing of a travel bag + the weight distributions, stabilization, ventilation, and long-lasting materials of a hiking backpack. AMAZING. 

Possible downfall: Newer and Fewer Pockets

It’s newer, so it’s not as time-tested as these other packs. It has fewer pockets than the other bags as well; however, I would suggest getting these handy dandy packing cubes regardless of which pack you choose. 

And now, for my nifty little Type-A chart: 

REI Traverse 65 Osprey Aura AG 65 WOsprey Ariel AG 65 WOsprey Fairview Trek 70 W
Frame materialInternal frame, aluminum Internal frame, lightwireInternal frame, 3.5mm LightWire peripheral frame3.5mm LightWire alloy
Material(s)Ripstop Nylon / 200-denier double ripstop nylon body and 420-denier recycled nylon oxford bottom fabric offer heavy-duty protection and durability100-denier x 630-denier nylon dobby/210-denier high-tenacity nylon/420HD nylonNylonNylon pack cloth 

Size/Weight 3,967 (65) / 4 lbs 11 oz 👌🏾3,783 (62) / 4 lbs 5 oz 👍🏾3783 cu in (62) / 4 lbs, 14.4 oz ❌4272 cu in / 4 lbs 9 oz ✅
Zipper exposure /access from strangersBad, too exposed ❌👌🏾
Integrated Rain Cover?Yes 👍🏾No, but flap jacket 👌🏾No ❌Yes, Air/Rain cover designed to protect checked packs ✅
Pack AccessTop/Side/Bottom 👍🏾Top/Bottom ❌Top, Bottom, Panel 👍🏾Large front panel (top and bottom separate compartments) – makes it easier to pack and find stuff, but riskier if something breaks. Better for travel overall though ✅
Removable Day Bag?Yes, with hydration compatibility (may not need camelback)  ✅No, but removable lid can reduce weight 👌🏾Yes, with hydration compatibility (may not need camelback)  ✅No ❌
Stand out features REI ActiveMotion lets hipbelt pivot independently from pack – stuff it pouch for wet gear 

Dual internal compression straps to keep clothes neat – multifunction sleeve for either hydration or laptop 
# of exterior pockets11+ main compartment ✅11+ main compartment ✅7 👍🏾6+ main compartment 👍🏾
Sleeping Bag Compartment?No 👌🏾Yes 👍🏾Yes 👍🏾No 👌🏾
Design/Look (1-4) 2 👌🏾4 ✅1 ❌3 👍🏾
REI reviews 4.7, 23 reviews, no 1/2, recent ones good too 1 month ✅4.5, 47 reviews, no 1, not as recent ones, 4 months (someone chose traverse over this) 👌🏾4.1, 31 reviews, not as recent ones, 2 months, mostly bad uncomfortable ❌5, 1 review, so new hasn’t tried it but comfy so far 👍🏾
Price$249 ✅$270 👌🏾$310 ❌$230 ✅


  • Compression technology for stability 
  • Back ventilation/curved back/suspended mesh back panel 
  • Padded shoulder straps 
  • Hydration compatibility 
  • Adjustable torso length (and the Trek is built for small torso, perfect)
  • Hip belt pockets 
  • Water bottle pockets that are easy to access
  • Lash points on bottom to strap additional gear 
  • Water resistant materials 
  • Lockable zippers (locks not included) 

There you have it! I hope this article was helpful if you, like me, were trying to decide which travel backpack was right for you between these or similar packs. 

And, if you couldn’t already tell by my excitement in explaining it, let alone the featured photo, I chose the Fairview due to my specific travel plans. You might choose differently depending on what you want to use the pack for, or how it ends up fitting when you try it on at the store.

I used Amazon affiliate links that you can click on if you decide to purchase one of these packs. And if you’re an REI member/fan like myself, you can also use this link to explore these and other travel packsThese links help support Same New Love at no additional cost to you!

Good luck with your decision!  Let me know what you decided in the comments.

Loving the old; exploring the new,



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